MP critical of ‘bedroom tax’ benefit change

Blyth Valley MP Ronnie Campbell.

Blyth Valley MP Ronnie Campbell.

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A LOCAL MP has slammed forthcoming changes to the benefits system which has an impact on elderly people whose partner has died and older couples whose children have left home.

Blyth Valley’s Ronnie Campbell claims the new ‘bedroom tax’, due to take effect from April next year, will hit the most vulnerable and those suffering from bereavement.

“This is yet another anti-working class tax on working class people,” said the MP.

The MP said one of his constituents who lives along in a three-bedroom property because her husband passed away and her children have grown up, will lose £10.79 a week in housing benefit if one of her bedrooms remains unoccupied.

If two or more are spare, she will lose £19.27 or a quarter of her weekly benefit.

The alternative, the MP said the resident had been informed, was to either move home, pay the shortfall herself or take in an approved lodger.

“It is an outrage this miserable rule change is hitting such decent people who have striven to raise their families and who suddenly find themselves on their own.”

Mr Campbell blamed the changes on the welfare reform legislation passed by the government earlier this year.

“It is another big thank you to the Liberal Democrats,” he added. “The Tories have pushed this through with the Lib Dems.”